Hello and welcome back to my chaotic end of year list for my favourite songs of 2015. Today we go from 100 down to 50 and there’s quite a few in here which you may have thought would be number 1. Let’s kick this off then
100. Justin Bieber – What Do You Mean?
Winner of almost every end of year list I’ve read thus fan, Justin Bieber’s colossal ticking timebomb What Do You Mean kicks off my Top 100. In Justin’s redemption story, this could be perceived as the main act. Over half a billion YouTube views and a brand new look and style solidified, Bieber’s emergence as a pop star using classy R&B beats was complete with What Do You Mean. In a year where most of our big hits were R&B numbers, this was one of the biggest examples and a fine one at that.
99. Nicki Minaj –Truffle Butter
Nicki’s best moment of the year came courtesy of a collaboration with Drizzy and Lil Wayne that wasn’t called Only. Instead we are talking about the audacious production of Truffle Butter, a song so ridiculous but with an aura of winning swagger about it. A mainstay for parties all over the globe, the track ensured that Nicki’s Pinkprint was going to be sticking around for the year.
98. Galantis – Runaway
As introductions go, Galantis arrived onto the scene in a gigantic way with Runaway providing one of the largest feel good drops of the year. It may be too early to say but this feels a lot like Swedish House Mafia all over again. Hell it’s not even their best song on this list.
97. Rae Sremmurd – This Could Be Us
Living the Sremm Life was certainly one of the better ways to spend 2015 and the lads themselves showcased this through their music. This Could Be Us filled the stereotypical ‘We’re fairly far into the album campaign now so let’s put out a video about how well things are going for us’ single and had Swae Lee and Slim Jimmy partying in Africa.
96. The 1975 – UGH
Released on 18th December, The 1975’s new single UGH almost never made it into the list but god dammit how catchy is this new material from the UK’s most popular guitar band? Aside from making invincible pop hits, the band are hiding really serious subject matters within their feelgood indie pop which I have so much respect for. UGH for example is about Matty’s Cocaine addiction, not that you’d know by grooving to it.
95. Omarion – Post To Be
In one of the more obscure moments of the year Ice Box singer Omarion returned with a substantially huge US hit Post To Be. Breezy turned out good on the tune too but it was Jhene Aiko’s talk of eating da booty like groceries which stole the show. Places in the Top 100 for just being a huge banger.
94. Tor Miller – Midnight
Tor Miller’s gorgeous Billy Joel-esque lonesome New York ballad Midnight really did wonders for me. It’s a subtle record but picks up at precisely the correct points to paint a stunning but bleak picture. Another record I remember falling in love with on solitary late night radio listening sessions.
93. Ty Dolla $ign – Blasé
Ty Dolla $ign’s 2015 war path to superstardom was helped greatly with the launch of Blasé which features Future and Rae Sremmurd. Ty Dolla is a rock star and in making a record as heavy as Blasé, he announced his intentions to be looked at. It’s not commercial but it’s hardly ignorable, especially when including two of 2015’s heavyweights. Also this puts Future on four records in this end of year list which puts him in contention for Artist of the Year.
92. Big Sean – Blessings
The centerpiece of Big Sean’s fantastic career album Dark Sky Paradise is Blessings, a track which not only has Drake and Kanye on it but has also spawned one of the year’s biggest popular phrases. In Sean’s album and this track we’ve certainly had blessings on blessings on blessings. For the Artist of the Year tally this also puts Drizzy onto a probably unbeatable six tracks and we’re not done yet.
91. Fidlar – West Coast
Fidlar spent this year putting out an incredible follow-up to their debut album. The album, Too, had numerous great singles on it but nothing came close to the punk sing-a-long mosh anthem West Coast. Considering the album is about front-man Zac’s recovery from drug abuse, it’s such an uplifting album of how things can go wrong and West Coast will always stick as the excerpt of that.
90. Future – F*** Up Some Commas
Future’s crem de la crem this year was his trap club monster F*** Up Some Commas which is also his biggest hit to date. It’s been a busy year for the artist which has included releasing his acclaimed album Dirty Sprite 2 with Commas on it. This ends Future’s run in my end of year list with a very impressive total of five tracks. Very much a marmite artist, his autotuned vocals put a lot of people off but you have to admire his hard work in becoming one of the year’s essential sounds.
89. Krept & Konan – Freak Of The Week
Its always great to see a homegrown artist progress to the next level and grime boys Krept & Konan did precisely that snagging a huge UK hit and US hit with their Jeremih collaboration Freak of the Week. It was one of Summer’s best alternative mainstay radio hits and a well-earned Top 10 hit for them.
88. Greg Holden – Boys In The Street
Well travelled singer songwriter Greg Holden gave 2015 one of its more heartwrenching records of the year with Boys In The Street, a track about a father’s rejection of his gay son. The Scottish born, English raised, New York based singer is now three albums in without much chart success but that didn’t stop the track’s gorgeous message and video going fairly viral racking up 1.5 million views. It places because it’s an important message and a story you need to hear.
87. Spring King – City
Manchester’s Spring King have enjoyed great success this year despite it being a teaser year more than a break-out one. There’s plenty of time for that next year. City is an important track because it launched the first worldwide radio station, Beats 1. Zane Lowe picking this as the first track was a really awesome moment for new music and one that myself and other fans of discovering new bands savoured. I’m sure the band thought it was pretty cool too.
86. Petite Meller – Baby Love
Despite being released in January, Baby Love served as one of the Summer’s biggest sounds. Petite Meller in all her brilliant insanity put out one of the sunniest records of the year with a seriously addictive chorus which sounded absolutely fab on UK radio during the Summer months. Even if she never follows it up, it was a good run for Meller who enjoyed bringing Baby Love to some festivals too. All in all a nicely packaged pop hit.
85. Rae Sremmurd – Throw Some Mo
Rae Sreummurd’s best record of the year belongs to Throw Some Mo which included Nicki Minaj and Young Thug on it. The Mike Will Made It beat is memorable and a brilliant track for Urban DJ sets. The track also had a fair bit of mainstream exposure on UK radio which was great to see for Rae Sremmurd. This ultimately led them having the fanbase to perform some great shows in the UK, including a packed out tent at Leeds of which I was in attendance. This song sent the crowd off the walls.
84. Rich Homie Quan – Flex
After the incredible Rich Gang fall out of last year, one interesting question coming into 2015 was if Young Thug and Rich Homie Quan could follow up their joint success by releasing great solo records. Quan proved his worth with Flex, which enjoyed an incredible amount of success stateside. For me it’s simply one of the more easily accessible great rap records of the year.
83. Refs – Pain Goes Away
Brooklyn’s Refs landed modestly in February with Pain Goes Away, and then sort of faded away into Summer after its release. The track itself is a vibey indie record with mellow production but what really breaks out is the vocal. Fans of Local Natives will love the power and pain of the voice on this record as Refs sing of one sided relationships. It’s a track which not many people may have picked up on but I loved it.
82. Gavin James – The Book Of Love
Ever since Scrubs included Peter Gabriel’s version of The Book Of Love in the finale of the show, I’ve been in love with this song. However I think in all honesty Gavin James has found deeper emotion and meaning in the words and music than Gabriel and The Magnetic Fields before him did. Dare I say it, this is much better than the original. James’ voice is endearing through-out and the Irish star makes his guitar sing like Buckley would. I look forward to more next year from him.
81. Kanye West – All Day
A quiet year for Kanye West looks a bit like this. Flamethrowers at the BRITS when debuting a new song and also introducing grime to a mainstream UK and US audience. There’s no other way about it, Kanye changed the face of music with All Day.
80. Wiz Khalifa & Charlie Puth – See You Again
Charlie Puth is introduced into the music world with Wiz Khalifa’s tribute to Paul Walker in the track in promotion of Fast & Furious 7. Currently sitting at around 1.3 billion views, it was a fitting ode enjoyed, purchased and loved by many across the globe also enjoying chart success all over. One really brilliant moment in music this year was a teary Vin Diesel singing this in honour of his fallen friend. RIP Paul Walker.
79. Jess Glynne – Don’t Be So Hard On Yourself
The UK’s new pop Princess has had an outstanding year which for me was topped with Don’t Be So Hard On Yourself, her track about learning to live with yourself. Everybody can relate to feeling down at times and needing a pick up and I think for me this came along at the right time. Much like Hold My Hand and Take Me Home it also blew up in the charts. Jess has been a great story of an artist being tipped for greatness and then just getting there with style.
78. Purity Ring – Begin Again
Initially an instant grat track for the band’s sophomore album, Begin Again is the band’s new single and there’s a reason they’ve selected it. It’s quite simply the best song the band have released all year. Meghan’s voice has never sounded sweeter against heavy dreampop bass. The chorus doesn’t just happen, it comes crashing in like an avalanche of synths. The quiet moment into verse two about Moons and lovely orbiting is utterly captivating.
77. Carly Rae Jepsen – Run Away With Me
Oh Carly, lovely sweet Carly. Last time round when Jeppo put out an album we were treated to a one hit wonder. This time round E.MO.Tion has given us so many top quality pop songs including Run Away With Me which immediately smothers you in its searching distant Saxophone. Fans and critics alike loved the album but this number in particular.
76. Craig David – When The Bassline Drops/Fill Me In
From all of the great things to happen this year, few feel more right than Craig David coming back to prominence. Whilst my official pick for this place is his Q4 Garage beauty When The Bassline Drops I have to point you to his Kurupt FM comeback on Radio 1Xtra where he mixed his classic Fill Me In over Jack U and Justin Bieber’s Where Are U Now. It was the most incredible surprise to happen in British music this year (see 45 minutes in).
75. Billie Marten – Bird
Billie Marten is one of my favourite voices heading into 2016 and it’s mostly down to how perfect Bird is. Much like the gracefulness of a bird fluttering it’s wings before soaring off into the sky, Billie’s voice takes flight into a gorgeous falsetto chorus. With a perfect atmosphere around it, it’s one of those songs you can fire headphones on to and take yourself out of any busy work room.
74. Chvrches – Leave A Trace
Chvrches’ triumphant return felt big, worthwhile and very Scottish and that I really liked. Lauren Mayberry’s voice is a battle cry in Leave A Trace’s chorus and the verse pulses along with arena aiming synthesizers that the band are famed for. The album which followed was one of the year’s best and this spearheaded it, waving the Chvrches flag of everything we love about them.
73. Miguel – Coffee
Whether or not Coffee is as good as Adorn remains to be seen but at time of release all Miguel fans were certainly immediately won over with massive love-hearts in their eyes. I should know, I was one of them. Coffee also got some really sweet UK radio airplay and remained one of Urban music’s biggest hits of the year. Wildheart, Miguel’s sophomore album was also pretty damn good.
72. Wolf Alice – You’re A Germ
Operatic in tone whilst still being typically moody, Wolf Alice’s You’re A Germ was one of indie rock’s best moments this year. This was a new sound from the hottest new band in the UK, with singer Ellie becoming unhinged in the chorus. If you think it sounds good on record, see her lose her mind at a Wolf Alice concert, it’s electrifying.
71. The Chemical Brothers – Go
Despite their new album lacking any real flare, The Chemical Brothers sparked up this year with Go, featuring a great turn from rap God Q-Tip. With perhaps the best use of bass guitar this year for a sporadic pacey riff this song is a call to arms. We’re only here to make you GO!
70. Kendrick Lamar – Alright
On first listen of To Pimp A Butterfly I will admit that Alright wasn’t the first track I would go to. In light of police brutality in some American states though, Kendrick’s track has done something that no other track has necessarily done this year. It has secured its place in the history books. Strike groups against brutality and other injustices have turned to the main line in Alright. In these displays you will now always here the optimistic chant “We Go’an Be Alright, We Go’an Be Alright!” It’s not my favourite song of the year but it may well be the most important.
69. Elliphant – Love Me Badder
Every year there’s always room in pop fans’ hearts for a really out there great Swedish pop hit. Elliphant’s Reggae ridden Love Me Badder was this years. An outrageously uplifting chorus mixes with her great ‘badman’ reggae style vocals. Unsure if she normally does this on tracks but it’s oddly pretty.
68. Alesso – Cool
There really hasn’t been a house tune which has got me smiling as much as Cool has over the last year. Alesso hit the big time with Heroes last year but this is far better for me. Roy English’s funky falsetto gets me in the mood for dancing and feeling good about life and that’s all before the drop so when that hits its maximum happiness. Music’s supposed to make you happy at the end of the day, so this is a great song. Also, that is Alesso in the video!
67. Diet Cig – Scene Sick
Wonderful memories come to me when listening to Scene Sick. They inevitably remind me of all of the similar sunshine indie music I have fallen in love with previously such as Best Coast and Fidlar but also Scene Sick gave me much excitement about new guitar music this year. Diet Cig exploded into my heart like a firecracker and although the song is less than two minutes long, there’s so much to love here. More from these guys next year would be high on my want list.
66. Tove Lo – Talking Body
Tove Lo went and released my favourite song from her album as a single and it was indeed a glorious moment for pop music. Talking Body is a perfect pop song and a little risqué too which sums up Tove Lo’s persona. She had a pretty quiet rest of her year but for a small fraction of the year Tove Lo was the best pop star in the world and that was exciting.
65. Adele – Hello
I don’t need to tell you about Adele or Hello. I don’t need to tell you what happens or how it has done commercially. What I need to tell you is that I was fully blown away and all in on her comeback single due to the heights her voice reaches. It was the first time I’ve heard a song and understood why she might have waited for the right song to come along. It needed to be something that accented her range well enough, and Hello was big enough for Adele.
64. OMI – Cheerleader
OMI’s Cheerleader was perhaps this year’s best radio single for the same reason that Mr.Probz’s Waves was last year. It is unflammable. You cannot burn it with a flamethrower. This track quite simply does not burn out on you meaning that it never grows old. It will stand the test of time and it’s rather bloody good too. For that, it deserves so much recognition.
63. Genghar – Heroine
Growing up in the golden age of Indie Rock and NME and then living through the dirge of good bands over the past five or so years, it really takes a lot to impress me if you’re going for that sort of shtick. Gengahr are a band I fully endorse. They make music we need in this world and whilst it might not be their biggest single, nothing really hits the spot as well as Heroine. Understated vocals and a cute guitar riff blend together lovingly before a superb guitar solo cruises into action.
62. Fifth Harmony – Worth It
Ever thought something was so wrong it became right. Kid Ink delivers the worst rap verse I’ve ever heard since Ludacris lit up Bieber’s Baby. Fifth Harmony struggled to do basic rhymes and a line about being “just a little rough, not a lot, but maybe just enough” became viral. Everything here shouldn’t work, but seriously don’t fight it. It’s crackpot brilliant.
61. Jidenna – Classic Man
Just a little too under the radar, Janelle Monae struck up a new movement with her new artist Jidenna at the forefront. His Classic Man isn’t just a song, it’s a way of life that I myself strive to live by. Being a Classic Man isn’t just about dressing in snazzy suits, it’s about being a Gent and feeling good about yourself. If I could up my life and move right now I’d be partying with these guys all day every day.
60. Grace Mitchell – Jitter
This is Grace Mitchell, top of my ones to watch for 2016 and rightly so with this unfairly big debut single. If you’re not sold immediately as the jittery vocal samples hit then I have no time for your opinions. What follows is a pop song I can only call ‘sick bruv’. With just enough French Disco, obscure Electronica and genuine mainstream pop star potential, this is just downright epic.
59. One Direction – Infinity
My love affair with One Direction is a lovely tale. What started as sarcastically liking the best band in the world genuinely led me to believe they were the best band in the world. It’s a little like the plot to She’s All That. The reason I mention this is that I’m really, really going to miss One Direction when they split up after this year and whilst Drag Me Down, History and Perfect will be the ones people go to, it’s Infinity which for me is their Swan Song. This is the kind of track you bow out on so I do hope it’s their final single before hiatus occurs. It’s uplifting and feels proud and most of all unlike any other song from 1D or any contemporary it builds to a rocketship takeoff, the thrusters being a wall of guitar and synth noise. It’s unexpected but a moment of sheer beauty. I’m a fan of a lot of cool music, and I really mean this, One Direction make really cool music. Infinity places because it’s the coolest track they’ve made from their final album. Thanks for the memories lads, I love you.
58.Towkio – Heaven Only Knows
Glitch-rap comes into existence through new artist Towkio’s heaven ascending jam Heaven Only Knows which is music meant for Chance The Rapper to jump on and tear apart. Towkio does alright on the song himself but it’s Chance’s fantastic spin on it that makes this a memorable one. Not many tunes all year made me feel as happy as the acute sounding pitched up vocal ending the chorus. It’s why I love it, I love it, love it I love it.
57. The Weeknd – The Hills
Another big hitter to lose outside of the Top 50, The Weeknd’s enormous hit The Hills was an astounding release. It has the dark side of The Weeknd which is the side of Abel Tesfaye that we’re used to and somehow against the odds, it had global success. With the release of this, it truly does feel that The Weeknd has gotten to a comfortable place where he can experiment and still be making hits for fun.
56. Travi$ Scott – Antidote
Antidote places due to being a real break-out moment for Travis Scott. One of the biggest rap anthems of the year came from a really obscure song. With a strange dark country twinge, nothing could contain Antidote from spreading like wildfire. The surprise of how heavy it gets makes it captivating and you never quite know where it’s about to take off to. For that it had so much replay-ability for me.
55. Cape Cub – Swim
My favourite track from a local act (North East England) this year is Cape Cub’s Swim. And it’s miles ahead of the rest. Upon first listen I genuinely broke down at how fragile it sounds and then I didn’t cope too well on second or third listen either. What made this release even more special was seeing the rest of the world pick up on it too as it topped the Hype Machine charts. Further releases have been solid too so I am helping drive the Cape Cub bangwagon, climb aboard now.
54. Galantis – Peanut Butter Jelly
Whilst it never hits the high chorus of Runaway, Galantis’ show stealing moment this year came courtesy of the odd Peanut Butter Jelly. Robotic vocal samples play over a steady build of brass like electronics before erupting in the chorus to something that’s impossible not to shake your ass to. PBJ is one of my favourite club records of the year.
53. Madeon – Pay No Mind
Although Madeon has been absolutely forgotten (an outrage), his collaboration with Passion Pit was one to remember. An institution in how to make an EDM pop hit, Pay No Mind is unrivaled in how clean and crisp it sounds on the ear. It was a great radio hit and by god the ending crescendo like the blackout to credits in a film is breath-taking.
52. Passion Pit – Lifted Up (1985)
Speaking of the wonderful Passion Pit, he did return this year with Kindred, a fantastic album about his interesting but troubled life. At the heart of this was the easily accessible and infectious Lifted Up which does what it says on the tin. If you listen to this and don’t find yourself singing the chorus back, then see a Doctor, you’re missing a heart. 1985 was a goooooood year!
51. Rachel Platten – Fight Song
And the best middle of the road pop monster of the year goes to Rachel Platten for Fight Song. Not only is it Radio 2’s best song of the year but it also sounds like Vanessa Carlton and hopefully will feature in sequence in the White Chicks sequel I want them to make in 2018. In all seriousness this is a stunning song from Platten and it doesn’t really matter that she might not find success again. Fight Song will go down as one of 2015’s biggest pop moments.
And that brings us right down to my Top 50. We’ve lost a severe amount of big hitters here and I did get most of the obscurer rap hits out of the way here too so I promise that my Top 50 is not to be missed. As always thank you for reading and comment and let me know what you think of my list.